Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) in Louisiana, US is one of the busiest airports in the US. Presently, a new North Terminal is being constructed at the airport which will be ready by 2019 fall. MSY has many design features which make the airport a unique one. Do you know its unique design features?
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport covers 1,500 acres (607 ha) of land. At an average of 4.5 feet (1.4 m) above sea level, MSY is the 2nd lowest-lying international airport in the world, behind only Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport in the Netherlands, which is 11 feet (3.4 m) below sea level.
The new North Terminal will cover an area of approximately 650,000 sq. ft. including 80,000 sq. ft. of retail space, two well connected concourses and 30 gates. Most importantly, the terminal design is based on the concepts of modern and open architectural arts resembling the shape of two back-to-back boomerangs. The terminal facades are primarily glass, with trellis-like shading used to evoke New Orleans’ distinctive architecture, while providing an optimal balance of daylight and thermal comfort.
The new terminal’s architectural form is aimed at evoking the geography of the Delta region and the soft curves of the Mississippi with a symmetrical plan formed from gentle arcs on three sides.
Airport’s locational disadvantages have forced many technological innovations. The new terminal is being built virtually on a marshy land which has necessitated 4,000 piles to be driven into bedrock, essentially creating an airport on stilts. The spherical roof shape was designed to allow long spans while accommodating heavy rainfall. Extensive wind-tunnel modelling and on-site trials were conducted to test the blast-resistant curtain walls’ ability to withstand category-4 hurricane winds.
Incidentally, the new airport terminal project is the first major transport project in the region post Katrina.